I realize now that I’m in between the two lifestyles of living and travelling. Before I left I knew that I would have the responsibility of working and maintaining a good wifi connection. However, I didn’t understand all of the practical aspects. For instance, I can’t always go out with the tourists I meet because I have a schedule. Furthermore, I have a budget that I try to hit each month, while tourists more commonly have the opportunity to splurge. On the contrary though, I have more time to develop stronger relationships with citizens, and I can also experience more of the authentic culture that goes on behind the main attractions. Paraná was one of those authentic experiences that almost no tourist will experience. In truth though, Paraná was also the original capital of the Argentinean fédération before Buenos Aires was conquered. As a result, it’s going to be interesting to see how much this little city will be reflected in the rest of the country.
When looking up from the river, you can’t see the city as its hidden behind two levels of hills and forestry. However, when you get to the other side you can find a beautiful cathedral, plazas, and walkways in order to do business and shopping. There is also a local cinema called “The Rex” which is pretty run down but clinging on to its profits, as well as a theatre named “3 de Febrero” that hosts plays on a bi-weekly basis. The town is very peaceful and it’s quite relaxing to take a stroll on the shiny tiles under the lights. You might even hear tango music or see people practicing tango in the square. It all brings a sense of class which is then resonated out into the hills and forestry back towards the river again.
Going down to the river, on the higher level there is an outdoor theatre which seems to entwine itself with the nature surrounding it. Here people put on plays at night to an audience that observes from multi-leveled vantage points like apes in trees. If you move over to the east you can find another park called “Rosedal”. Surrounded by roses, the park has walkways with overgrown roots and bushes. As you walk through, you can look through the arches to see the river and islands that echo off the coast. Beautiful. On the lower level below Rosedal, we can see winding staircases that lead down to the coastline avenue. If we head back west under the theater, we come across another park named “Parque Urquiza”. This park contains yet another landing where people can perform live entertainment. What’s more though is that in the background there is a waterfall that creates a stream. The stream then runs intertwined with the dragonlike walkways that soar down to the coastline. Throughout the whole interval between the city and river, nature and architecture seem to reconcile and adapt to each other as if they were married.
As for the river, it is actually really important for trade in Argentina as it stretches from Buenos Aires, up to along the coast of Paraguay before dipping in to Brazil. You can also take a kayak out to do a tour around one of the islands and there’s also a rowing culture for sport. As a side note, the region that Paraná is the capital of is called “Entre Rios”, a region that swells with hot springs. I went to the one in “María Grande” during the rain and I will never forget the serene experience. I also won’t forget the experience of looking at my phone, thinking 4am was late, and then an Argentinean answering my statement by offering to refill my glass. Argentinians go out at 2 and don’t stop until the sun’s about to come up.
In conclusion, if Paraná really is a sign of what’s to come in Argentina, I’m fine with that. Down to Patagonia I go.
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